Kanwal’s Healthy Corner – Karela or Bitter Gourds

Bitter gourds certainly do stand up to their name, and boy are they bitter! Yes, very much an acquired taste, but all should try this unusual yet familiar South Asian dish at least once. Just one cup of bitter gourds has 24mg of calcium and a whopping 349mg of potassium. Not to mention, they are extremely low in calories, about 20 per cup. So if you love bitter gourds try out the recipe below. If you’ve never had bitter gourds, known as karela, this is a great easy dish to learn. Enjoy!


  • 4 medium bitter gourds, thinly sliced
  • 1TB. of canola or olive oil
  • 1tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1TB. of cumin seeds
  • 1tsp. of turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of chili powder
  • 1TB. of garam masala
  • 1 small tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of water


In a shallow pan, add the oil and turn the heat up to medium.

Add the onion, cumin seeds and salt. Sauté for five minutes, stirring continuously.

Add the turmeric, chili powder, garam masala and tomato. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Add the bitter gourds.  Sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the water. Place a lid on the pan, reduce heat to low and allow to cook for 20 minutes.

Once cooled, enjoy with roti and pickled vegetables!


My name is Kanwal Ullah. I am a 27 year old IT Professional living in good old Jersey City, NJ. As some of you may know, I have a deep passion for healthy living. Most importantly, healthy living starts with what you put in your body. Therefore, my passion also exists in healthy cooking. When I’m not in the kitchen working on healthy recipes, you can find me at the gym or roaming the streets of NYC for great food finds. Born as the daughter of two wonderful Pakistani parents, I particularly crave the culture and food from my ancestors. However, I do not like the fat and calories that have crossed continents to get to me! My passion has developed into revamping our South Asian Cuisine to make it more heart healthy and figure friendly! Bon Appetit!

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